The Curse of Time: Chapter 15
In Which an Ambush Springs
This time, they walked with purpose towards the mirror. Even though Raven was still the only one who could see it she knew where it was and they had marked its presence so that it never took them by surprise again. Walking confidently into the void, they found themselves dropping out into the flames and took only a moment to look around before they made their way to the shop, oblivious to the emptiness of the streets.
After entering the shop and digging through the paper for a while, they found nothing that even resembled what they had bought before. The shelves were lined with fireproof paper that shone in the reflection of the flames, but not a single sheet of the paper could be found which would burn. Finally, they gave up for the time being and exited to shop to look around town for another hint in the right direction.
It was as they walked the streets that they suddenly noticed the lack of population. With a start, Raven stopped in the street as she realized that the shop itself had even been empty of human residents. Turning to the side to look into the glass window of a clothing store Raven searched for people. She was rewarded by a glimpse of a man in black behind her.
Turning around, Raven spoke up to ask where everyone was and found herself dodging under the man’s initial attack. Just like that, a group of men in black with swords in their hands were upon them, frantically trying to take them all out. Raven had no time to take any of it in as she found herself fighting for her life.
Her first attacker drew his sword and swept it towards her stomach. With barely a fraction of a section to spare, Raven collapsed outwards as if she had been thrown back and caught herself upon the back of another attacker. Twirling around with the aid he his back as a center-point, Raven whipped his sword out of his hands and swept it towards his feet. Leaping up in a moment, the man lost his balance and fell in a heap where Raven’s knee connected with his forehead and sent him into a deep sleep.
Kaya was doing well against her attacker, revealing some not-so-hidden talents with weapons no one had seen her bring. Before her attacker could even think of taking her by surprise, Kaya had heard his footsteps and whipped knives out of thin air. Whirling around and placing the blades crossed flat against each other, she blocked the enemy’s sword and deflected it to the side at the same time as she flicked a third knife into the air with her foot. Catching it in the sole of her boot, Kaya jumped into the air and spun herself in a fast, tight, circle which freed the knife and sent it flying into the attacker’s jacket. This knife alone did little good, but distracted the man so that he dropped his guard and the knives in her hands pinned his arms to the wall. The man was so shocked that he dropped his sword, which Kaya grabbed before it hit the ground. This weapon she drove through the man’s shoe in such a way that it pinned him completely to the wall and the ground but barely scratched his foot.
Cameron was doing better than expected as he dodged his attacker with incredible prowess, leading him in a weaving pattern towards a corner. Once he was close enough to be satisfied, Cameron went into the offensive. Instead of ducking and dodging, he placed himself behind the attacker and focused on putting the man off-balance so that Cameron could make his move. It didn’t take long for the attacker to show his weakness and Cameron moved in close, pounding both fists at once into the man’s sword hand. The man did not drop the sword, but it was rendered unusable in that moment and Cameron yanked it out of his hands so that it flew straight away from both of them. Bringing his knee upwards, Cameron grabbed the attacker’s head and yanked it down so that it met his knee with extra force and sent him flying back towards the corner where he stayed.
Meanwhile, Aaron was not doing as well. He was tragically managing to dodge the basic attacks, but was mostly focusing his efforts on running away. This could have, perhaps, worked to his advantage had the fifth attacker not decided to join in. One of the men had Aaron on his knees while the others were fighting still, and no one was coming to his aide. Just then, some dark figure appeared from the smoke and flames, dressed in a dark blue that wavered with the fire, and tackled the first attacker. In the same instant, Raven finished her battle and rushed to her brother’s aide. She took one sword in hand and beat the second attacker up against the wall. The sword Cameron threw back fell right next to her and Raven grabbed it. With the force of a hurricane, Raven crossed the swords and drove them into the wall so that they could not be moved. They were placed perfectly so that the attacker could not move either direction without cutting himself; neither could he free himself by pulling them out.
Just then, Emilia rounded the corner, looking as if she had missed the entire thing. Raven stood straight and turned to take in the damage. Emilia had somehow escaped any damage, and Raven, Kaya, and Cameron were bruised but not broken. Aaron was more than alright, but was ashen faced and shaking with shock. Five men dressed in black were slumped in various positions around the street, also with varying degrees of consciousness.
That was when Raven noticed him, the man dressed in dark blue, standing just beyond the smoke and flames so that his face could be seen. He looked at her, and she at him, and she caught a glimpse of eyes that she recognized. Raising his hand, the man saluted her before throwing something towards them. At first, Raven was confused. Then she saw it, and realized he had thrown their clue. It was headed straight towards the flames, and would be burned to ashes. Not knowing what else to do, she leapt into the air in an attempt to catch it before it caught fire.
Even as it fell into her hand, she knew it was too late. A spark caught the edge and it caught in an explosion of light that burned brighter than all the fires that lined the streets. And then it fell down towards he hands. Burning like acid, it made its way through her gloves until she felt it branding upon her hands. In pain she leapt back, only to see the fire gone and nothing but ashes in her hands.
Looking at the ashes of hope literally lying in her hands, Raven was enraged. She felt the fire of anger boiling up inside her like a volcano that was about to explode. Steam started to pour from her ears as she looked up with intent to harm for the man who had burned their clue. He was gone.
Looking back down at her hands, Raven saw with surprise that she actually did have holes in her gloves. And there, on her hands, was a marking that she could barely read. Squinting her eyes, she pulled her hands up closer to her face and took her gloves off. On her hands, engraved like a tattoo, Raven read these words:
“Congratulations, Seeker, you have found your next clue!”